NEW DELHI: As the Blueline fleet kept off the roads, commuters were yet again left to the mercy of autorickshaws who made a killing on Monday as they asked for exorbitant fares and took shared trips from bus stops.
Their targets: hassled commuters, women especially, who were stranded at bus stops across the city as they were unable to get into the overcrowded buses. ‘‘I have been waiting at this bus stand for over 45 minutes but all the buses are overcrowded. It is impossible for me to get in and hanging is not an option. I need to get home to my children and am going to take an auto, even if it means paying more,’’ said Suhasini Shankar, who works at a showroom in South Extension.
Complaints of blatant refusal and overcharging were common as the number of free autos remained limited. ‘‘All the autos are almost full. If an empty one passes by, people are running towards it in desperation. And auto drivers are taking those willing to pay them the maximum,’’ added R K Singh, who paid Rs 100 for an auto ride from Vasant Kunj to South Campus.
Even the pre-paid booths set up by the traffic police at busy junctions were of little help as cops posted there urged commuters to fend for themselves. Traffic constable Amer Lal, posted at the prepaid booth on Vikas Marg, was seen saying to commuters, ‘‘Either take a taxi from here or go on the road and try flagging down an auto. There is a bus strike today and not one auto is coming here.’’